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The two inches worth of the ribbing on the Fair Isle hat are doing me in. My right hand is stupid with yarn, and it seems easier to have both strands of yarn in my left hand. I went to the sewing shop today and have two possible solutions.

Fair Isle Solution I: Dritz Extra-Large Hooks & Eyes

Fair Isle with Dritz Hook and Eye

Dritz Eye

Put the large eye onto your pointer or middle finger. Lace the two colors of yarn onto the eye, one through each of the hoops (which you’d ordinarily use to sew the eye onto your clothes).
Advantage: You can slip the yarn in and out of the hoops so you can change to a third color of yarn if needed.
Disadvantage: Yarn can slip out of the hoops when you aren’t looking. Holds the two strands of yarn very close together, so you have to be careful of which yarn you’re catching for your knit or purl.

Fair Isle Solution II: Blue Moon Beads Natural Elegance metal chain (from either JoAnns or Michaels, “CHAIN MTL 24″ NE # 149 BURN SIL”).

Fair Isle - Blue Moon beads chain

Blue Moon beads chain

Fair Isle - Blue Moon beads chain

Blue Moon beads chain

The chain has a larger ring inserted every 3 inches or so. Remove the chain part, and just keep the ring with its attached fancy jump ring. Use your jewelry pliers to pry open the small jump ring, insert the yarn, and close the ring again.
Advantage: You can put these rings on the tips of different fingers, allowing you to keep the two colors of yarn farther apart but still under control.
Disadvantage: Not easy to change colors, but you could always put one large ring/jump ring combo on each color of yarn, and just take off or put on the rings attached to the appropriate color of yarn. Depending upon the size of your fingers, the rings might pinch after awhile.

I wouldn’t advise using these suggestions for the portions of the Fair Isle knitting where you’re doing fancy patterns and changing yarn colors a lot. They do seem useful when you’re alternating frequently between two colors for a long stretch and both knitting and purling.

“Necessity, who is the mother of invention.” – Plato

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